The Marshal's Road:The Song of Erik of Candar... - 5.

With the site brought to spectral life by the newborn flickering flames, Erik handed Darby one of his sandwiches, smiling gently to the bound man as he did. 

"Here. Not gonna let a man starve while I feast. You can celebrate with me."

"And what exactly might we be celebrating?" Darby asked, jamming the sandwich into his mouth the second the final words exited it. 

"My promotion. The Lord Marshal summoned me himself to bestow the honor." 

"The Lord Marshal, you say... You must be an important man to garner such an honor." 

"Well, I try not to brag," Erik said, feigning humility as he puffed his chest. 

"You're an alright fellow, you know?" Darby said, jamming another bit of sandwich into his mouth. He tried to savor it but his hunger quickly turned him ravenous; attacking the sandwich without mercy. 

"All kidding aside, you a tax collector or something?" 

"Yes. Chief tariff collector for Candar." 

"Candar, huh... You are a long way from home, my good sir... A long way indeed." 

Erik took a pull off his skin, offering it to Darby once finished. 

"So... A death sentence over a woman... I hope she was worth it. " He chuckled as the caged man took the skin eagerly from him. 

"Ain't no gash worth this end."

"What was her name, if you don't mind my asking..." Erik volleyed back, starting to gnaw on his second sandwich. 

"Alexia... Woman was a walking goddess, my friend. Fair skinned, full figured..."

"I can only imagine..." Erik teased a bit, tapping on Darby's cage with his boot. 

"And she was the type that knew it too, if'n you get my drift."

"I know the type..."

"She liked to turn heads, that one did... Liked it more when you'd flirt with her a bit... Like she got off on the sin of it all." 

Darby took a breathe, watching Erik finish up his sandwich. 

"So how'd you get caught, if she was such an expert temptress? Did your charms finally land themselves on some lonely soul too naive to see you for the cad you are?" 

"If it were only so happy an ending, rotting here as a star crossed love mourns me miles away. But it wasn't nothing like that. Just tempted Fate one too many times with that one, that fat sherif ripping me off his old lady mid stroke."

"You're kidding," Erik rolled, a hearty belly laugh choking his words. 

"Wouldn't be in this cage telling you this if I was, mate. Fat bastard ripped me off her then beat us both stupid for making him a fool."

"He hit her too?" 

"Damn right. She starred insulting him the second I came off... Kind of shit you never want coming out of your woman's mouth. Looking back, she might have gotten the worst of it, seeing as how I at least got to leave; his men dragging me out here to my current state." He gave out a hopeless sigh, clanking his head against he coarse iron bars as he did. 

"Worse part was, the bitch wasn't even that good." 

"As though you have much to compare to. You're just a pup." 

"I grew up a few towns from here... Locke's Mead. The Conscription took many of the men from home for a long time... Women get lonely. And I get lonely women." 

He paused as Erik withdrew his pipe from his coat, starting to puff on it. 

Erik noticed the quiet, locking eyes with Darby. He offered him the pipe, again the convict grabbing eagerly at it. 

"You were saying?" 

"The women got lonely and bored and lusty, and I- too young to be called to serve and too pretty to be ignored- felt it my duty to keep my neighbors comforted during their hardship." 

"And I take it people started to talk?" 

"Not right away... But after a few of the war widows started showing, it could be said things got dicey. Figured it was time for a change of scenery and made my way to the Keep." 

"And what was your trade there... I mean, besides whoring." 

"A jack of all trades, if'n you will..." 

"And now it's clear... You're a bum, Mr. Darby..."

"Begging your pardon?" Darby replied, feigning shock at the insult. 

"You heard me well enough... You're a cad; corrupting legions of once virtuous women with your lusty charms. But it seems as though this road for you has come to an end."  Erik stated, his ire fueled by the wine. 


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